A group of website owners from Faisalabad have been arrested by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA). The alleged fraudster gang was involved in an online fraud scheme that is believed to run over a couple of billion rupees and involves about 5,000 victims. The FIA has also registered a case against him in Faisalabad.
Sources say that the Deputy Director of FIA Cyber Crime unit in Lahore, Sajjad Bajwa, was tipped about a man involved in an online business fraud of over 2 billion rupees and that he was currently staying in Lahore. A team, led by the Deputy Director, raided and arrested the man from his house.
Allegedly, the fraudsters were supported by ‘influential politicians’ from Faisalabad
The arrested suspects include, Liaquat Ali, Ahsan Raza and their family members, all of whom are residents of Faisalabad. They launched the website in June 2015 and shut it down in November same year. He was allegedly the owner and operator of a website called e2click.com (referred to as Earn to Click), which promised people to earn up to $800. Users needed to pay a certain amount to get registered and post or click on advertisements to earn money.
The owners of this website paid a small profit back to the users to earn their trust and got them to invest even more in the website.. According to Bajwa, more than 5,000 people were affected by the scam. Allegedly, the fraudsters were supported by some ‘influential politicians’ of the district.
“The suspects have also laundered huge sums abroad. A case under money laundering will also be registered against them after getting evidence,” Mr Bajwa said. “We have detected Rs200 million in a couple of accounts of the prime suspect. We are conducting raids to arrest his accomplices and will recover the looted money,” he stated.
The internet is filled with such fraudulent websites, which promise to offer easy ways to earn money. In reality, these websites simply fool innocent people into giving up their details (sometimes they even ask for money during the registration process) and working for the website owner without any compensation. Similar cybercrimes are reported all around the world, especially in developed countries. However, they seem to have shifted towards emerging markets in order to con gullible people who aren’t aware of the internet or can become easy targets.
The cybercrime unit of the FIA has shut down the website and it is no longer accessible. The FIA recovered laptops, cheque books of different banks and some other documents from the alleged criminal’s house and has sent them for forensic examination.
If Its Too Good to Be True, It Usually Is
In Pakistan, a vast majority of the population is unemployed and an even greater population is unaware of the threats on the internet. Couple that with an offer which claims to help make easy money and such internet markets become home to fraudulent websites.
The website owners take money from other website owners or Facebook page admins to increase their view count and page likes. The registered people do the job while the website owner makes the money. Neither does it benefit the website owner to get fake visits, nor does it hold any monetary advantage for the ‘clickers’. There is no easy way to make money or a shortcut to rising to the top. Everything has to be done using proper channels and methods.
Update: Updated the scam amount and added more information regarding the victims.